Malaysian Monday : Sago Gula Melaka

Monday, August 24, 2009

sago gula melaka
Is it Monday already? I feel as if I’ve blinked and lost a whole month. The summer-like weather we’ve been experiencing in Sydney has also added to the feeling of things speeding up. My daughter keeps reminding me that it’s only three more months until Christmas (according to 6 year old maths, you don’t count the month you’re in or the month that includes Christmas).

So here we are again at another Malaysian Monday, attempting to persuade Mr Kitchen Hand to eat a malaysian dessert.

This Sago Gula Melaka (Palm Sugar Sago) proved really tricky to photograph well but the making of the dessert is super simple albeit a little time consuming (it requires chilling time).

Sago Gula Melaka is actually just a set mould of sago, served with coconut milk and a gula melaka (dark palm sugar) syrup. There are so many recipes out there for Sago Gula Melaka, but most of them are just variations of how much water, sugar or coconut milk to use in the dessert. It’s all a matter of taste. When we were kids this meant drowning the sago in tons of the gula melaka syrup and adding very little (if any) coconut milk.

I’ve thrown together my version without really referring to a recipe as such, but I’ve outlined my measurements and method below. Feel free to re-mix it your way. (A lot of Malaysian cooking involves “agak-agak” (literally guess-guess)measurements anyway, and because a lot of desserts are not baked, the exactness of measurements aren’t as crucial.)

And did Mr. Kitchen Hand like it? The results please….

The MKH Scale-O-Meter (scores out of 5)

Appearance: 2.5 “Elegantly presented biological material”
Texture: 2 “It’s slimy and it’s cold!”
Taste: 2.5 “Started off nice but then ended up really weak – the sago is flavourless”
Ah well, there’s always next Monday. Have a great week ahead and do drop by soon ☺

Sago Gula Melaka
(makes 4 small dessert portions)

(For the sago)
1 cup sago (approx. 175g)
6-8 cups water
To serve: Canned or fresh coconut milk with a pinch of salt added.

(For the gula melaka syrup)
About 25g gula melaka roughly chopped.
1 tablespoon caster sugar
½ cup water.
(Place all ingredients in small saucepan, Stir until sugars are dissolved. Simmer gently until reduced and syrupy)

Method for sago

1) Lightly oil 4 small jelly moulds or similar, or one large mould. (My aunty always makes this in a tin shaped like a rabbit.)
2) In a large pot, bring the 6 -8 cups of water to the boil.
3) In a bowl, lightly wash the sago pearls, then drain in a sieve. Give it a light rinse to remove excess starch.
4) When the water is boiling, add the sago pearls stirring all the while to stop the sago from sinking and sticking to the bottom of the pot. Reduce heat to a medium simmer.

sago pearls in pot
5) Stir the sago often, it will release a lot of starch. Cook until the sago pearls are transparent. This can take up to half an hour depending on how much water is in the pot and the cooking temperature.

sago pearls almost done
6) Drain the cooked sago in a heat proof sieve and rinse under cold water to remove excess starch again. The aim is to get visible pearls rather than a lump of starch.You will probably need to do this in batches.

draining the sago pearls
7) Tip into moulds, cover and refrigerate overnight – if you prefer a firmer sago, you can leave uncovered in the fridge to dry out and firm up a bit.

Serve with coconut milk and syrup on the side so that everyone can have as much or as little as they want.


Anh said...

How funny, my hubby’s colleague is asking for this very recipe today. I will direct them here.

Oh, do you take request for MM? :P

shaz said...

Ha ha Anh, I must be psychic :) I will try to entertain requestsn if I know how to make it:)

Mallory Elise said...

looks like tapioca jelly...i have to say i loved reading "only three more months until christmas" !!!....i have never wanted three months to fly so fast, thanks for making my night :)

Sala @ Veggie Belly said...

this sounds incredibly delicious! i love anything with sago! bookmarked!

Julia @ Mélanger said...

I love anything jelly. I love the shape of the moulds. Cute!

shaz said...

Hi Mallory, thanks for visiting - it actually is tapioca jelly, with DIY flavouring.

Thanks Sala - I love sago too, and syrup, oh and coconut milk :)

Thanks Julia - the moulds are actually those cheap and cheerful ones found in the supermarket aisle!

Grace said...

so no rave reviews, eh? i think you photographed it quite nicely, and although it doesn’t particularly sound like my cup of tea, i’m impressed nonetheless. :)

shaz said...

Cheers Grace - I think the world is divided into sago eaters and non-sago eaters - and never the twain shall meet, except on food blogs.

Megan@Feasting on Art said...

Wow, I can't say that I have ever had sago. When I have a meal with my partner's parents (from Malaysia) we always end our meal with fruit. Plus they try very hard to limit the amount of coconut milk we consume. This looks interesting - I will have to ask them about it when we next visit and maybe I will get to taste it!

shaz said...

Hi Megan - When I started seriously making Malaysian desserts (for the blog of course), I realised how much coconut milk the average Malaysian consumes, not just in desserts - it's used in sauces, curries, rice dishes etc. (But having said that, most daily meals end with fresh fruit, desserts are for special occasions or gatherings).